Small Grants go a long way

GRASS roots cricket in Cheshire received a welcome 'shot in the arm' in summer 2015 thanks to significant investment from ECB and national sponsor Waitrose.

Cheshire Cricket Board accessed grants for its clubs totalling £75,000 in 2015 for a range of projects including the installation of new covers, kitchen refurbishments, patio seating and new decking.

A total of 31 Cheshire clubs successfully applied for the funding, provided by the England and Wales Cricket Trust (EWCT) Small Grant Scheme and topped up by direct funding from the Cheshire Cricket Board.

Many of the clubs, through the hard work of volunteers, raised additional capital to 'match' the funding to ensure these projects were able to go ahead.

Club Development Manager Mike Woollard, who administers applications on behalf of Cheshire clubs, said he was thrilled to hear how the Small Grant Scheme had made such a positive impact across the county.

Mike said: "We are proud of our record of attracting investment into Cheshire, and this latest round of funding from the Small Grant Scheme has been well received by our clubs.

"The vast majority of the 31 successful applications benefitted from new covers or flat sheets, in keeping with our commitment to making pitches playable at all levels.

"Other investment was used to refurbish kitchens and provide new decking, with some clubs also purchasing new patio furniture with the funds.

"Investment in facilities is crucial if clubs are to thrive, and we were delighted to be able to support so many applications in 2015."

Mike added: "We've received some nice feedback from clubs who have benefitted from the scheme and I look forward to the next round of funding in 2016, when we hope to make a real difference to other clubs across the county." Some feedback from just a few of the 31 Cheshire Clubs

"We would like to thank Waitrose and the ECB for its support in enabling the club to improve its facilities by means of the installation of a new kitchen and appliances through the Small Grant Scheme. This has provided a real boost to a small club and we now have some very happy tea ladies!" Andy Cooper, Winsford CC

"Langley CC were awarded an ECB Small Grant of £1,500 from the Cheshire Cricket Board in March 2015 to build a new BBQ and extend the patio area with additional seating. The project was complete before the start of the season and the club has been able to host BBQs regularly throughout the season raising much needed revenue and we have run many more social events than in previous seasons. The BBQ has also been used by the local community during the summer holidays and we held an end of season Junior Section party where we cooked over 150 burgers and sausages for the hungry attendees! All in all this has been a fantastic addition to our club, raising revenue, creating social interaction and we are very thankful to the ECB and CCB for their support." Matt Stevens, Langley CC

"Warrington CC received a grant of £1000 for four flat sheets which we purchased from Stuart Canvas and they have been a great help to our groundsman, who says they are easier for him to use than the mobile covers. He has regularly used two on each square (i.e. protecting two pitches) throughout the season. During matches they are easy to handle if there is a shower of rain. We been able to play an extra six matches which might otherwise have been cancelled. The investment at Warrington has been very worthwhile and we thank Cheshire and the ECB for the grant." Ian Buttress, Warrington CC

"Upton CC were delighted to receive the grant from Waitrose through the ECB Small Grants Scheme. The money was used to replace both a very well worn out carpet and the draughty windows in the main bar area with new double glazed units. The changes have resulted in the improvement of the bar area, which has gone down very well with both members and guests. It has improved the feel of the club and has made it more appealing to members and their guests. The new carpet has given a different feel to the club and has energised the membership to look to make further improvements. We are now looking to renew the coverings on the existing furniture, obtain newer coffee tables and chairs as well as painting the ceiling white. We believe this will update the bar area to complement our new Tea Room and make it more welcoming for members and guests. Apart from the better look to the clubhouse with the new windows we will be looking forward to a much warmer club house in the winter thanks to the new units." Rob Chapman, Upton CC

"The work was completed during the Summer and the lady who does the cricket teas was ecstatic with the improvements that were made. Everything was so much easier for her in terms of preparation and clearing up afterwards. She could have more things happening at once and she was able to prepare a greater variety of things to make the teas more varied and enjoyable for the players. This was also shown when hosting the Cheshire matches of different age groups held at the ground. As a multi sports club the new kitchen has also been a great asset to the Lacrosse section who continue to use the kitchen during the winter months." Mike Short, Stockport CC

"We applied for ECB grant funding to make good our scruffy and uneven frontage with a smart tarmac finish. We also bought new furniture for the bar. The improvement has been immediate and we have been inundated with requests to hire the facility for birthday parties. Financially this will have a significant effect and enable the club to reinvest in the cricketing and non-cricketing facilities." Trevor Bailey, Stockport Georgians CC